This Little Plot relates to the earth, to nature, and to our lives within it. But I want to begin in a tight sphere, focusing on our small (10 x 15) back garden, and slowly expand outward. After I left my full-time job I embarked upon working at home, in our tiny office facing the yard. As I write in that little space, my ears pick up the rustling of the huge eucalyptus in the lot next door. Hovering over our home and visible from atop San Francisco’s Twin Peaks, the tree is an ecosystem in itself, host to robins, Townsend’s warblers, and house finches, among other creatures. The finches sing sweet songs as they court and nest together, and the robins digest the berries of the copious ivy covering the walls, sowing its seeds in the ground. Have things always been so, all this interdependence, continuing every day? I wonder what else I’ve missed, working so long in an office building impervious to the seasons.
When I was growing up in Marin County, in addition to disappearing into nearby woods and creekbeds with friends during my punk rock youth, I often went hiking with my father in the hills around our house, and learned to love nature, to appreciate its power to heal, from my mother – who celebrated every change of season and inherited the Russian passion for gardening. Now, as I get up and walk through the garden, weeding and picking up fallen jasmine and camellia blossoms, my hands brush against blooming rosemary bushes, releasing a sharp burst of scent. This small plot of land has become not only a quiet haven where I can escape and enjoy solitude, but also a prism through which I view and connect to the rest of the world.